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Hempstead Housing Authority appoints new leaders

The troubled Hempstead Housing Authority has named a replacement for its recently ousted board chairman and selected a new executive director.

The seven-member board last week approved 6-0 the appointment of Rosemary Olsen as executive director. She is expected to start in a few weeks, pending Nassau County Civil Service Commission approval, at a salary of $95,000.

"I'm really looking forward to working with the board and the residents to turn the Hempstead Housing Authority into a high-performing and high-quality organization," Olsen said Friday in an interview.

The beleaguered agency is the subject of federal administrative and criminal investigations into its finances, and has been functioning without an executive director since it fired Stacey Stackhouse in April.

Last month, three newly appointed board members, Andrena Wyatt, Marcia Turner and Max Rodriguez, and Village Mayor Wayne J. Hall Sr. forced out the authority's chairman, Gilford Finch. Hall -- who appoints five of the seven board members -- picked local real estate lawyer Carlos Beltran to fill out the board.

"The mayor has illegally removed me," Finch said Friday. "I am looking at my options right now. I would like to come back."

The board also announced that Wyatt will be chairwoman, Turner will be co-chair, and Gerard Terry will serve as acting secretary.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development designated the authority as "troubled" in 2011 and has been monitoring its management. Investigators from HUD's Office of the Inspector General visited the authority in April, seeking financial records, housing officials have said.

The authority oversees four public housing complexes with 281 units.

Wyatt said Olsen will be paid $35,000 less than Stackhouse and will not have the perks Stackhouse enjoyed: a free apartment on Hempstead Housing Authority property, gasoline cards and E-ZPasses.

Olsen, 50, of Glen Cove, is an attorney and certified planner. The Hofstra University Law School graduate has been director of the Community Development Corp. of Long Island since 2010. She was director of the Nassau County Office of Housing and Intergovernmental Affairs from 2004 to 2009. Before that, she was executive director of the Glen Cove Community Development Agency and Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency.

"Ms. Olsen has a strong relationship with HUD and is well-versed in HUD standards and requirements," Wyatt said at the board meeting Thursday.

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